While the US is facing super hurricanes, the work of young photographer Virginia Hanusik addresses the rapid coastal erosion of Southeast Louisiana, leading to a gradual environmental degradation.
Virginia Hanusik’s work deals with the changes happening in Southeast Louisiana, which is experiencing the global phenomenon of coastal erosion, probably at a faster rate than anywhere in the world. The complex history of water management in the region has influenced the rapid change in landscape and environmental degradation, and to be there is to be on the frontline of climate change.
Backwater is an ongoing project that explores the response coastal communities have had to land loss, structural resilience, and habitat adaptation in the fluvial delta. River diversions, sediment siphons, and other coastal restoration efforts worth billions of dollars are underway to salvage the land, cultural assets, and architectural heritage of this unique region. By photographing the seemingly banal landscapes along the coast, one can begin to see the visual changes from town to town which symbolize the region itself: a microcosm of preservation and destruction. Homes, commercial buildings, roads, and street signs tell the story of a place with a vibrant past yet highly uncertain future as encroaching water threatens its very existence.
Virginia Hanusik is a photographer based in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her work focuses on the intersection between the built environment, landscape and climate change, and has been featured in publications such as The Atlantic, Places Journal, and Newsweek. She is currently working on “A Receding Coast: The Architecture and Infrastructure of South Louisiana” which depicts the history of architectural adaptation and water management in the region. Virginia has been supported by the Graham Foundation and the Mellon Foundation.